Characters, Quirks, and Eccentricities

This afternoon, I indulged in one of my favorite snacks ever – trail mix.  My favorite includes M&M’s, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, raisins, and peanuts.  Naturally, I love the chocolate, the peanut butter, and I actually really love the raisins, but peanuts?  I can tolerate a few to round out the delicate balance of flavor, but I could never eat them alone, or stand more than about three per handful.  Aside from the fact that they make peanut butter, I really don’t like anything about peanuts.  I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the taste, and I especially don’t like the texture.  They feel sort of soft, almost chalky, and yet they’re solid.  They’re just… weird.

Oddly enough, my admittedly peculiar contempt for peanuts got me thinking about personality traits, which of course, got me thinking about characterization in stories.  Characters are what make a story for me.  If I don’t like or connect with the characters, good luck getting me to finish reading your book.  If I don’t like characters that I’ve written, I will scrap the entire book and start over.  I got about nine chapters into one of my works that is currently in progress, realized I didn’t care if any of my characters died or not, and so I went back to the beginning.

Even though they don’t always turn out the way I think they will, crafting new characters is my absolute favorite thing about writing.  I love personalities, I love dialogue, and I love relationships.  I also love giving them quirks and eccentricities, kind of like my disdain for peanuts.  In Cemetery Tours, Kate has her germ-phobia and obsession with television, Michael has a dry, almost cynical sense of humor, Luke has a ridiculous fashion sense, and Brink… well… Brink is just a walking talking explosion of all things 1990s and plaid.  I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter who I talk to, Brink is EVERYONE’s favorite character!  I can understand that, though.

In my experience, side characters are often the ones that end up stealing the show and I think it’s because, I hate to say it, a lot of times, they’re more interesting than the main characters.  They are somewhat more realistic with their quirks and distinct personalities.  I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hang out with Fred and George Weasley than Harry Potter.  Or I would, you know, if JK Rowling hadn’t KILLED Fred!

In my mind, he’s not really dead.  George somehow managed to come up with a way to bring him back to life.  Shh!

That being said, I’m about to head out to a poker night.  I don’t play poker, but my friends are going to be there, so I figured I’d go and hang out for a while.

Have a great night, all!



26 thoughts on “Characters, Quirks, and Eccentricities

  1. Yes! Finally someone who agrees with me on the side characters being awesome! I always end up liking the sidekick best friend – or the one who dies in the end (I’m still mourning Fred) – and everyone around me is like “you’re so weird, why don’t you ever look at the main heroes?”.
    And the thing about liking a book when its characters are worth it is true, too. I’ve left a book in DNF state more than once just cause I couldn’t stand reading anymore of the main heroine’s thoughts!

    • Right?!?! EXACTLY! If I don’t like any of the characters, I really have to fight to finish. I hate leaving books DNF, but it happens. And yeah, I cried for hours after Fred died. He was kind of my first fictional boyfriend and we were together for eight years. But yeah, you ask me my favorite characters, they’re always the sidekicks or the supporting characters. 🙂

  2. That’s the thing about breakout characters. They just kind of, break out. I always think about Lauren Willig, who structured her entire series around them, because several characters would not be ignored, so each sequel follows a breakout character from the previous book.

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